[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) interrupted mass drug administration (MDA) programs to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases in Liberia. MDA programs treat entire communities with medication regardless of infection status to interrupt transmission and eliminate lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis. Following reports of hostilities toward health workers and fear that they might be spreading EVD, it was important to determine whether attitudes toward MDA might have changed after the outbreak. We surveyed 140 community leaders from 32 villages in Lofa County, Liberia, that had previously participated in MDA and are located in an area that was an early epicenter of the EVD outbreak. Survey respondents reported a high degree of community trust in the MDA program, and 97% thought their communities were ready to resume MDA. However, respondents predicted that fewer people would comply with MDA after the EVD epidemic than before. The survey also uncovered fears in the community that EVD and MDA might be linked. Respondents suggested that MDA programs emphasize to people that the medications are identical to those previously distributed and that MDA programs have nothing to do with EVD.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Filarial antigen tests are key tools for mapping the distribution of bancroftian filariasis and for detecting areas with persistent infections following mass drug administration (MDA). A recent study showed that the new Alere Filariasis Test Strip (FTS) has better analytical sensitivity than the BinaxNOW Filariasis card test (Card Test) for detecting circulating filarial antigen, and the FTS detected more positive results than the Card Test in a field study performed in a highly endemic area in Liberia.
The present study compared the performance of the FTS and the Card Test in community surveys that were conducted in southern Sri Lanka and in Indonesia (Central Java) in areas with low-level persistence of LF following multiple rounds of MDA with diethylcarbamazine plus albendazole. The studies were performed in densely populated semi-urban areas where Wuchereria bancrofti is transmitted by Culex quinquefasciatus.
Antigenemia rates by FTS were 138 % higher in the Sri Lanka study (43/852 vs. 18/852) and 21 % higher in the Indonesia study (50/778 vs. 41/778) than antigenemia rates by Card Test. Antigenemia rates were significantly higher in males than in females and higher in adults than in children in both study sites. Although overall antigenemia rates and test scores were significantly higher by FTS than by Card Test in both study areas, rates in young children were similar with both tests in both areas.
These results extend the previously reported superior sensitivity of the FTS to areas with low residual infection rates following MDA, and this could affect mapping and post-MDA survey results in adults. However, our findings suggest that results of transmission assessment surveys (TAS) performed in school-aged children are likely to be similar with both tests.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Parasites & Vectors
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Available treatments for lymphatic filariasis (LF) are limited in their ability to clear microfilaria (mf) from the blood for an extended period of time. The safety and efficacy of a single-dose triple-drug therapy of widely used antifilarial drugs diethylcarbamazine (DEC), ivermectin (IVM), and albendazole (ALB) for LF is unknown.
We performed a pilot study to test the efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics of single-dose DEC, IVM, and ALB in Wuchereria bancrofti-infected Papua New Guineans. Adults were randomized into one of two treatment arms: DEC 6mg/kg+ALB 400mg (N=12) or DEC 6mg/kg+ALB 400mg+IVM 200ug/kg (N=12), and monitored for mf, parasite antigenemia, adverse events (AEs), and serum drug levels.
Triple drug therapy induced >2-log reductions in mf levels at 36 and 168 hours after treatment compared with ∼1-log reduction in mf levels with 2-drugs. All 12 individuals who received 3-drugs were mf-negative one year after treatment, whereas 11 of 12 individuals in the 2-drug regimen were mf-positive. In 6 subjects followed 2 years after treatment, all individuals who had received 3-drugs remained mf negative. Adverse events, particularly fever, myalgias, pruritis and proteinuria/hematuria, occurred in 83% of subjects and were more frequent in the triple drug therapy (p=0.021), and all resolved within 7 days after treatment. No serious AEs were observed in either group. There was no significant effect of IVM on DEC or ALB drug levels.
Triple-drug regimen is safe and more effective than DEC+ALB for Bancroftian filariasis and potentially accelerate efforts to eradicate lymphatic filariasis.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Clinical Infectious Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Improved diagnostic methods are needed to support ongoing efforts to eliminate onchocerciasis (river blindness). This study used an integrated approach to identify adult female Onchocerca volvulus antigens that can be explored for developing serodiagnostic tests. The first step was to develop a detailed multi-omics database that includes comprehensive functional annotations for all 12,143 predicted O. volvulus proteins, gene transcription data for different stages of the parasite including eight individual female worms (providing gene expression information for 99.2% of all protein coding genes), and the adult female worm proteome (detecting 2,126 proteins). Next, female worm proteins were purified with IgG antibodies from onchocerciasis patients and identified using LC-MS with a high-resolution hybrid quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometer. A total of 241 immunoreactive proteins were identified among those bound by IgG from infected individuals but not IgG from uninfected controls. These included most of the major diagnostic antigens described over the past 25 years plus many new candidates. Proteins of interest were prioritized for further study based on a lack of conservation with orthologs in the human host and other helminthes, their expression pattern across the life cycle, and their consistent expression among individual female worms. Based on these criteria, we selected 33 proteins that should be carried forward for testing as serodiagnostic antigens to supplement existing diagnostic tools. These candidates, together with the extensive genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic datasets generated in this study are available to the community (http://nematode.net) to facilitate basic and translational research on onchocerciasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is a major public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Major disease-control programs have greatly reduced both disease and infection prevalence by mass distribution of donated ivermectin. Recent studies have shown that local elimination was achieved in some areas following many years of ivermectin. The global health community has recently decided to build on these successes with a new program that aims to eliminate onchocerciasis. Diagnostic tests that were useful for identifying priority areas for disease prevention may not be adequate tools for elimination programs. This paper reviews available and emerging diagnostic tests for onchocerciasis and considers how they might be best employed during different stages of onchocerciasis elimination programs.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Trends in Parasitology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) are required for body movement in parasitic nematodes and are targets of “classical” anthelmintic drugs such as levamisole and pyrantel and of newer drugs such as tribendimidine and derquantel. While neurotransmission explains the effects of these drugs on nematode movement, their effects on parasite reproduction are unexplained. The levamisole AChR type (L-AChRs) in Caenorhabditis elegans is comprised of five subunits: Cel-UNC-29, Cel-UNC-38, Cel-UNC-63, Cel-LEV-1 and Cel-LEV-8. The genome of the filarial parasite Brugia malayi contains nine AChRs subunits including orthologues of Cel-unc-29, Cel-unc-38, and Cel-unc-63. We performed in situ hybridization with RNA probes to localize the expression of five AChR genes (Bm1_35890-Bma-unc-29, Bm1_20330-Bma-unc-38, Bm1_38195-Bma-unc-63, Bm1_48815-Bma-acr-26 and Bm1_40515-Bma-acr-12) in B. malayi adult worms. Four of these genes had similar expression patterns with signals in body muscle, developing embryos, spermatogonia, uterine wall adjacent to stretched microfilariae, wall of Vas deferens, and lateral cord. Three L-AChR subunit genes (Bma-unc-29, Bma-unc-38 and Bma-unc-63) were expressed in body muscle, which is a known target of levamisole. Bma-acr-12 was co-expressed with these levamisole subunit genes in muscle, and this suggests that its protein product may form receptors with other alpha subunits. Bma-acr-26 was expressed in male muscle but not in female muscle. Strong expression signals of these genes in early embryos and gametes in uterus and testis suggest that AChRs may have a role in nervous system development of embryogenesis and spermatogenesis. This would be consistent with embryotoxic effects of drugs that target these receptors in filarial worms. Our data show that the expression of these receptor genes is tightly regulated with regard to localization in adult worms and developmental stage in embryos and gametes. These results may help to explain the broad effects of drugs that target AChRs in filarial worms.
Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Paragonimiasis is a zoonotic, food-borne trematode infection that affects around 23 million people in Asia, Africa and the Americas. North American paragonimiasis, caused by Paragonimus kellicotti, is a common infection of crustacean-feeding mammals in parts of the USA and Canada. Although infection rates in crayfish are very high in some areas, human infections are rare and depend on the consumption of raw or undercooked crayfish. Human infections can be easily prevented and treated, but proper diagnosis of paragonimiasis is a problem. Paragonimus lung flukes often cause serious disease symptoms before they produce eggs that may be detectable in sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage, stool or histological sections by microscopy or PCR. Antibodies against selected Paragonimus proteins are detectable as early as 2-3 weeks after infection. Therefore, antibody serology is the most promising diagnostic approach for paragonimiasis in North America and elsewhere.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
The Sri Lankan Anti-Filariasis Campaign conducted 5 rounds of mass drug administration (MDA) with diethycarbamazine plus albendazole between 2002 and 2006. We now report results of a comprehensive surveillance program that assessed the lymphatic filariasis (LF) situation in Sri Lanka 6 years after cessation of MDA.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Transmission assessment surveys (TAS) were performed per WHO guidelines in primary school children in 11 evaluation units (EUs) in all 8 formerly endemic districts. All EUs easily satisfied WHO criteria for stopping MDA. Comprehensive surveillance was performed in 19 Public Health Inspector (PHI) areas (subdistrict health administrative units). The surveillance package included cross-sectional community surveys for microfilaremia (Mf) and circulating filarial antigenemia (CFA), school surveys for CFA and anti-filarial antibodies, and collection of Culex mosquitoes with gravid traps for detection of filarial DNA (molecular xenomonitoring, MX). Provisional target rates for interruption of LF transmission were community CFA <2%, antibody in school children <2%, and filarial DNA in mosquitoes <0.25%. Community Mf and CFA prevalence rates ranged from 0–0.9% and 0–3.4%, respectively. Infection rates were significantly higher in males and lower in people who denied prior treatment. Antibody rates in school children exceeded 2% in 10 study sites; the area that had the highest community and school CFA rates also had the highest school antibody rate (6.9%). Filarial DNA rates in mosquitoes exceeded 0.25% in 10 PHI areas.
Comprehensive surveillance is feasible for some national filariasis elimination programs. Low-level persistence of LF was present in all study sites; several sites failed to meet provisional endpoint criteria for LF elimination, and follow-up testing will be needed in these areas. TAS was not sensitive for detecting low-level persistence of filariasis in Sri Lanka. We recommend use of antibody and MX testing as tools to complement TAS for post-MDA surveillance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:Paragonimiasis is a food-borne trematode infection acquired by eating raw or undercooked crustaceans. It is a major public health problem in the far East, but it also occurs in South Asia, Africa, and in the Americas. Paragonimus worms cause chronic lung disease with cough, fever and hemoptysis that can be confused with tuberculosis or other non-parasitic diseases. Treatment is straightforward, but diagnosis is often delayed due to a lack of reliable parasitological or serodiagnostic tests. Hence, the purpose of this study was to use a systems biology approach to identify key parasite proteins that may be useful for development of improved diagnostic tests.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Implementation of mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis (LF) has been delayed in central Africa because of incomplete mapping and coendemic loiasis. We mapped two regions in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that were suspected to have LF. Night blood samples were collected from 2,724 subjects in 30 villages. Filarial antigenemia rates by card test exceeded 1% in 28 villages (range = 0-14%). Prevalence rates for large sheathed microfilariae (Mf) ranged from 4% to 40%; Mansonella perstans rates ranged from 22% to 98%. Large Mf were exclusively Loa loa by microscopy, and only 1 of 337 samples tested by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was positive for Wuchereria bancrofti DNA. Filarial antigen positivity was strongly associated with high L. loa Mf counts. Periodicity studies revealed atypical patterns, with no significant diurnal periodicity in some individuals. Thus, methods routinely used for LF mapping may not be reliable in areas in central Africa that are highly endemic for loiasis.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutamate-gated chloride channels (GluCl) are targets for avermectin/milbemycin (A/M) anthelmintics such as ivermectin that cause paralysis of somatic and pharyngeal muscles in gastrointestinal nematodes. Ivermectin is useful for onchocerciasis control programs because of its activity against microfilariae that often cause ocular disease and severe dermatitis. However, mechanisms responsible for reduced microfilaria production by adult worms following ivermectin treatment are poorly understood. We synthesized subunit-specific RNA probes for the Brugia malayi GluCl gene avr-14 (BmAVR-14) to localize expression of this gene in adult filarial worms. Both subunits of BmAVR-14 exhibited very similar expression patterns. In female worms, strong expression signals were detected in the ovary, developing embryos and lateral hypodermal chords, with moderate expression in the uterus wall adjacent to stretched microfilariae. These genes were also highly expressed in adult male worms (in spermatogonia, in the wall of the vas deferens, and in the lateral chords, but not in mature spermatozoa). In addition, avr-14 was highly expressed in somatic muscles adjacent to the terminal end of the vas deferens which contains mature sperm. These results show that avr-14 is highly expressed in B. malayi developing embryos and reproductive tissues, and they provide evidence for the involvement of GluCl in gamete production and embryogenesis in filarial worms. This may explain the observed suppression of microfilaria (Mf) production by female worms following treatment with avermectin/milbemycin anthelmintics.
Preview · Article · Aug 2014 · International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Little is known regarding risk factors for lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Central Africa. We studied the epidemiology of LF in an endemic village in the Republic of Congo.
Dependent variables were Wuchereria bancrofti antigenemia (ICT card test) and microfilaremia (night blood smears). The following factors were investigated: sex, age, bed net, latrines, source of water, uptake of anthelmintic drugs, hunting/fishing activities, and occasionally sleeping in the bush. Mixed multivariate logistic regression models were used.
134 of 774 subjects aged ≥ 5 years (17.3%) had W. bancrofti antigenemia and 41 (5.3%) had microfilaremia (mf). Infection rates increased with age up to roughly 20 years and remained stable thereafter. Multivariate analysis of antigenemia demonstrated an increased risk for males (OR = 2.0 [1.3-3.0]) and for people who hunt or fish (OR = 1.5 [1.0-2.4]) and a protective effect of latrines (OR = 0.5 [0.4-0.8]). Among males, those hunting or fishing at night had an increased risk for antigenemia (OR = 1.9 [1.1-3.5]), and use of latrines was protective (OR = 0.5 [0.3-0.9]). For females, bed nets were protective (OR = 0.4 [0.1-0.9]), and there was a strong household effect (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC]: 0.24). When mf was used as the dependent variable, males had a higher risk for infection (OR = 5.4 [2.1-13.4]), latrines had a protective effect (OR = 0.4 [0.1-0.9]) and there was a marked household effect (ICC = 0.49).
Age, sex, and occupation-dependent exposure to mosquitoes were important risk factors for infection with W. bancrofti in this study. It is likely that men often acquire infection in high transmission areas outside of the village, while children and women are infected in areas with lower transmission inside or near the village. Additional studies are needed to determine whether these findings apply to other areas in Central Africa.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We explored the practicality of integrating surveillance for soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH, assessed by Kato-Katz) with transmission assessment surveys for lymphatic filariasis (LF) in two evaluation units (EUs) in Gampaha district, Sri Lanka (population 2.3 million). The surveys were performed 6 years after five annual rounds of mass drug administration with diethylcarbamazine and albendazole. Each transmission assessment survey tested children (N = 1,462 inland EU; 1,642 coastal EU) were drawn from 30 primary schools. Low filarial antigenemia rates (0% and 0.1% for the inland and coastal EUs) suggest that LF transmission is very low in this district. The STH rates and stool sample participation rates were 0.8% and 61% (inland) and 2.8% and 58% (coastal). Most STH detected were low or moderate intensity Trichuris trichiura infections. The added cost of including STH testing was ~$5,000 per EU. These results suggest that it is feasible to integrate school-based surveillance for STH and LF.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Wolbachia α-proteobacteria are essential for growth, reproduction and survival for many filarial nematode parasites of medical and veterinary importance. Endobacteria were discovered in filarial parasites by transmission electron microscopy in the 1970's using chemically fixed specimens. Despite improvements of fixation and electron microscopy techniques during the last decades, methods to study the Wolbachia/filaria interaction on the ultrastructural level remained unchanged and the mechanisms for exchange of materials and for motility of endobacteria are not known.
We used high pressure freezing/freeze substitution to improve fixation of Brugia malayi and its endosymbiont, and this led to improved visualization of different morphological forms of Wolbachia. The three concentric, bilayer membranes that surround the endobacterial cytoplasm were well preserved. Vesicles with identical membrane structures were identified close to the endobacteria, and multiple bacteria were sometimes enclosed within a single outer membrane. Immunogold electron microscopy using a monoclonal antibody directed against Wolbachia surface protein-1 labeled the membranes that enclose Wolbachia and Wolbachia-associated vesicles. High densities of Wolbachia were observed in the lateral chords of L4 larvae, immature, and mature adult worms. Extracellular Wolbachia were sometimes present in the pseudocoelomic cavity near the developing female reproductive organs. Wolbachia-associated actin tails were not observed. Wolbachia motility may be explained by their residence within vacuoles, as they may co-opt the host cell's secretory pathway to move within and between cells.
High pressure freezing/freeze substitution significantly improved the preservation of filarial tissues for electron microscopy to reveal membranes and sub cellular structures that could be crucial for exchange of materials between Wolbachia and its host.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is targeted for global elimination through treatment of entire at-risk populations with repeated annual mass drug administration (MDA). Essential for program success is defining and confirming the appropriate endpoint for MDA when transmission is presumed to have reached a level low enough that it cannot be sustained even in the absence of drug intervention. Guidelines advanced by WHO call for a transmission assessment survey (TAS) to determine if MDA can be stopped within an LF evaluation unit (EU) after at least five effective rounds of annual treatment. To test the value and practicality of these guidelines, a multicenter operational research trial was undertaken in 11 countries covering various geographic and epidemiological settings.
The TAS was conducted twice in each EU with TAS-1 and TAS-2 approximately 24 months apart. Lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) formed the basis of the TAS survey design but specific EU characteristics defined the survey site (school or community), eligible population (6-7 year olds or 1(st)-2(nd) graders), survey type (systematic or cluster-sampling), target sample size, and critical cutoff (a statistically powered threshold below which transmission is expected to be no longer sustainable). The primary diagnostic tools were the immunochromatographic (ICT) test for W. bancrofti EUs and the BmR1 test (Brugia Rapid or PanLF) for Brugia spp. EUs.
In 10 of 11 EUs, the number of TAS-1 positive cases was below the critical cutoff, indicating that MDA could be stopped. The same results were found in the follow-up TAS-2, therefore, confirming the previous decision outcome. Sample sizes were highly sex and age-representative and closely matched the target value after factoring in estimates of non-participation. The TAS was determined to be a practical and effective evaluation tool for stopping MDA although its validity for longer-term post-MDA surveillance requires further investigation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The success of programs to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) depends in large part on their ability to achieve and sustain high levels of compliance with mass drug administration (MDA). This paper reports results from a comprehensive review of factors that affect compliance with MDA.
Papers published between 2000 and 2012 were considered, and 79 publications were included in the final dataset for analysis after two rounds of selection. While results varied in different settings, some common features were associated with successful programs and with compliance by individuals. Training and motivation of drug distributors is critically important, because these people directly interact with target populations, and their actions can affect MDA compliance decisions by families and individuals. Other important programmatic issues include thorough preparation of personnel, supplies, and logistics for implementation and preparation of the population for MDA. Demographic factors (age, sex, income level, and area of residence) are often associated with compliance by individuals, but compliance decisions are also affected by perceptions of the potential benefits of participation versus the risk of adverse events. Trust and information can sometimes offset fear of the unknown. While no single formula can ensure success MDA in all settings, five key ingredients were identified: engender trust, tailor programs to local conditions, take actions to minimize the impact of adverse events, promote the broader benefits of the MDA program, and directly address the issue of systematic non-compliance, which harms communities by prolonging their exposure to LF.
This review has identified factors that promote coverage and compliance with MDA for LF elimination across countries. This information may be helpful for explaining results that do not meet expectations and for developing remedies for ailing MDA programs. Our review has also identified gaps in understanding and suggested priority areas for further research.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The value of a semi-quantitative scoring of the filarial antigen test (Binax Now Filariasis card test, ICT) results was evaluated during a field survey in the Republic of Congo. One hundred and thirty-four (134) of 774 tests (17.3%) were clearly positive and were scored 1, 2, or 3; and 11 (1.4%) had questionable results. Wuchereria bancrofti microfilariae (mf) were detected in 41 of those 133 individuals with an ICT test score ≥ 1 who also had a night blood smear; none of the 11 individuals with questionable ICT results harbored night mf. Cuzick's test showed a significant trend for higher microfilarial densities in groups with higher ICT scores (P < 0.001). The ICT scores were also significantly correlated with blood mf counts. Because filarial antigen levels provide an indication of adult worm infection intensity, our results suggest that semi-quantitative reading of the ICT may be useful for grading the intensity of filarial infections in individuals and populations.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene